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Subject: Meat and Potatoes
Overall: just like last year's Silver Stadium show, this is a good quality, solidly played "meat and potatoes" GD show. Lots of traditional song choices, with one of Jerry's new tunes thown in for good measure. On this recording you get a good quality second set, but the sound quality on the other recording (currently on archive there's only one recording of the whole show) isn't fantastic, but it's good enough if you're looking to retrieve some memories of this fine day in Roch. I know there were a lot of high quality tapes of this show floating around for years, so I'm not sure why we're stuck with the sub-par recording for the first set.
The scene: after Alpine, Pittsburg, and SPAC, we were here for our hometown show. I don't remember who I actually went to this show with (Larry and Chard, I think), but once inside there were at least 20 people from Sutherland, so it was a fun time in that regard. My memory of this day gets a bit muddled with the 87 Silver Stadium show sometimes, but I do remember having a great time on this day.
The music: Set I: Box is always a fantastic tune to hear, especially as an encore or show opener. It takes a minute to sort out some volume problems for Phil's mic. Cold Rain follows, but there seems to still be some minor problems with the vocal volume. Brent gives the audience some of that Hammond magic in Minglewood, with both Bobby and Jerry taking turns with the slide afterward. "T right here in (long pause) Rochester." I think Bobby forgot where he was for a minute. Ramble has a good amount of energy (this is a song that I often think drags a bit). Some people think Far From Me is too much of a downer, but I disagree. This is a great song and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing it every time I got the chance.
Set II: the Green Onions jam was fun, but it just fizzled instead of going somewhere. That's fine, but at the show I remember being disappointed b/c I thought they were going to launch into something unexpected. The China>Rider is solid and has its peaks, but is not particularly outstanding compared with others of this era. Sampson is standard. Jerry makes me believe with this top-notch version of Believe it or Not. Truckin is nice with a great little build up prior to a very brief jam that moves into He's Gone. Although I'd heard He's Gone at Alpine just a few days after Nick's death (see my review of 6/23/88), this was a really special He's Gone for most everybody else in the Pittsford crew due to Nick's death just a couple of weeks prior. From an objective point of view, this also does have a really good "nothing's going to bring him back" section with Jerry, Bobby, and Brent all pitching in. Other One is nice and spacey. There is a big section of Thowin that drops out on this recording. Wharf>Thowin>Lovelight are all pretty standard for this era. A lot of us were thinking Knockin (par for the course after a Other>Wharf>Throw) so the Brokedown encore was a really nice treat.
Subject: Much better than Saratoga
Unlike Mr. Jaguar below, this is the best show of Summer 88 IMHO. Take this one and the Maine shows as the top dogs.
Saratoga was flat out dissapointing compared to 83/84 and 85 SPAC. A flat show for the most part. We all drove from SPAC to Raaa Chaaa Chaaa and got a much better show the next night.
This 2nd set recording is of tremendous quality. Get it.
Subject: Visit Saratoga before Rochester, but 'R' is not a wash-out
1st Set: Yay, it's Phil singing a song ("Box") that sounds more appropriate for a band like America or Bread...Fine, but we're all pulling for Phil to sing because of his reputation as a great guy...Not because this is a song that deserves to be on any regular rotation... That being said, Jerry does enunciate it well. "Cold"'s opening riff should rip more. It's kind of a cool AUD to hear the crowd moan along with Jerry on 'Snoooooooowww'. Minor but comes together well... "Minglewood"'s got a pleasing thick as molasses stomp. That hard-pounding vibe continues during one of the band's most ridiculous numbers, "Ramble on Rose." Fine but whatever. Some fan slurs something... the crowd sings along to a well-paced "Uncle." "Mexicali" is a tad too innocuous for my tastes. "Far From Me" is spirited, but most paltable when drunk. An almost false beginning predicates a noisy yet rousing "Queen Jane." Like the homestretch of last night's show, the band is more successful when avoiding all manner of subtlty and instead vying for a mantle of dependable 'stadium rockers.' "Ease" is dependable if a little bit of a bore.
2nd Set: They aren't actually playing "Green Onions" '88 is the year of 'how many classics' can the Dead tar up? Booker T should spinaroonie their non-distinctive asses. Things perk up properly with "China." Rollicking if misses its moment to 'click' and intuitvely shine at the breaking point... it rolls down the throat very nicely...content and mature if more of a white wine than red... that is til 2:57 and the drummers and Phil perfectly match Jerry's surging power. The remainder is mostly standard goodness til the end gets shimmies and dramatic flourishes. A wonderfully eclectic intro (through :40) leads us into a decent mover and shaker "Samson." "Believe it or Not" already feels carefully measured despite its only second appearance. "Truckin" is fleetingly attractive, but makes no statements. "He's Gone" is pretty straight-forward without any intirguing outro jam. "Drums" is mild-mannered while "Space" always makes its "TOO" intentions clear by providing a dissonant wall fo sound. An overabundance of synth flourishes mar the first couple of minutes, but the remaining 6 minutes are an involving mess. Yet the band is in a concentrated mode, as evidenced by this hard-fought trip to the "Wharf." "Throwing" is nicely played but a bit too pokey and mild-mannered. Jerry's gliding tete a tete with Bobby singing during "Lovelite" is delightful, but despite their best 'frantic' efforts from 5:20-6:05, it's still too mellow to impress.
"Brokedown" righteously closes this evening's musical offerings. "So long everybody" from Jerry.
3 1/4 stars
Subject: First live show
This was my first show and I was really hoping to see a Box of Rain (favorite song at the time)--BINGO first song out of the gate and I was hooked for life. Looking back, or really listening, this was a fantastic show that goes overlooked because of the strength of the summer tour in '88. First set is fairly average, but there is certainly nothing average about Set II. Love the China-Rider, wild Other One and I thought I would fly away during Wharf Rat.
Subject: He's Gone...good version
This is an interesting show, and I am surprised it is so overlooked. I love the He's Gone- it is very soulful, and Jerry is feeling it. He also really belts into the Rider earlier in the set- A real heart felt "headlight".
This is worth checking out.
Subject: On Fire! (literally)
Wow! I actually caught on fire (yes fire) right before Green Onions right in front of the stage! I had just purchased a new fringey Guat shirt, and the head of the freebie Virginia Slim Stripe cig falls off into the shirt. I was burnin up as Green Onions started and my friend was so excited and terrified, he yelled to me to DANCE! as he poured a Silver Bullet all over me to extinguish the flames A show I'll never forget.
Subject: good show, sweet sound
Subject: Summer of 88
All I remember is that I was the only one to call " Green Onions " after a few notes
This show is raw dead energy, East coast.
1- Great sound, great truckin D/S. Believe it or Not...